'Golden Boy' shines again at qualifiers

2012-04-20 00:00

CITY swimmers Darian Townsend and Tara Nicholas rose to the occasion to bag a gold and a silver medal respectively on the third day of the SA National Swimming Championships at the King’s Park Pool in Durban last night.

Townsend just missed the Olympic qualifying time (OQT) in the men’s 200 metre freestyle after clocking 1:47,88 — just 0,06 seconds shy of the mark.

Also trying to qualify was runner-up Sebastien Rousseau (WP) in 1:48,69 and third-placed Jean Basson (Central Gauteng) in 1:48,70 for a tight finish.

A few events later it was 16-year-old Tara Nicholas who produced an amazing swim to chase the eventual winner, Suzaan van Biljon (Northern Tigers), in the women’s 100 metre breaststroke.

Van Biljon also just missed the OQT by just 0,28 seconds with a 1:08,76, while Nicholas was a runner-up in 1:10,01 with Ronwyn Roper (KZN) third in 1:10,85.

But the night once again belonged to the talented 21-year-old Charl Crous (KZN) as he beat the OQT for the men’s 100 metre backstroke for a second time in 24 hours. He raced to a fast 54,17 seconds to better his semi-final time by 0,02 seconds as he was chased by Darren Murray (Northern Tigers) who just missed the cut in 54,80 seconds with Ricky Ellis (Central Gauteng) third in 56,16 seconds.

“Golden Boy” Chad le Clos continued his run of success by winning the first semi-final of the men’s 200 metre butterfly in 1:55,30 — well under the OQT of 1:56,86. The winner of the second semi-final was Sebastien Rousseau (WP) who clocked 1:57,63.

Le Clos said he was enjoying himself and still had two major races to tackle before it ends on Sunday, the 200 metre butterfly final tonight and the 100 metre butterfly on Sunday.

Another success story on the night was Kathryn Meaklim (KZN), who made the OQT in the women’s 200 metres individual medley semi-finals. Clocking a 2:13,33 was good enough to sneak under the OQT of 2:13,36, but was something she had been working towards for some time.

Meaklim said: “I am so happy to be in a position to swim twice at the Olympics after already qualifying for my best event, the 400 metre. But I am going to have to do it all over again in the final tomorrow night.”

The remaining semi-finals were set for some great finals with more possible OQT’s this evening.

Leone Vorster (Northern Tigers) was way off her SA long-course national record of 1:58,78 for the women’s 200 metre freestyle as she clocked 2:02,12. But the race that will develop tonight between her, Karin Prinsloo (Northern Tigers) and Wendy Trott (Western Province) who clocked 2:03,78 and 2:03,79 respectively, could see the OQT of 1:58,33 threatened.

Prinsloo will again be at it in the women’s 100 metre backstroke where the OQT of 1:00,82 is still in danger as she raced to a semi-final time of 1:01,52.

She has been on a 1:01 for so long that sooner or later a faster time will result.

Jessica Ashley-Cooper (WP) performed well in 1:02,47 while Lehesta Kemp (Northern Tigers) was a bit off the pace in 1:0,07.

The heats get under way at 9.30 am each day; the finals take place at 6 pm.

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